VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has convened a Cabinet meeting on Monday morning reportedly to approve a resolution to abolish the Legislative Council. The resolution could be moved in the Assembly later the same day.
The Assembly will have to adopt the resolution with two-thirds majority for it to be sent to the Centre for Parliament’s approval. Sources said the government is confident the Central leadership will pass a Bill to abolish the Council in the Budget Session of Parliament next month.
The only catch is that Bills from Rajasthan, Odisha and Assam to revive the Council have been pending with the Centre. It will be under pressure to pass them in Parliament if it wants to clear the one from Andhra Pradesh.
The government move has, it seems, rattled some members of the Legislative Council even in the TDP. However, the TDP leadership showed no signs of backing down. "The Chief Minister cannot abolish the Council. If we return to power, we will restore the Council," said TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu at a press conference on Friday. Incidentally, the TDP had been against the Council right from 1983.
Even in 2004, when the then Rajasekhara Reddy government moved a resolution in the Assembly to revive the Council, Naidu, who was the opposition leader at the time, demanded a referendum and opposed the move tooth and nail. TDP sources told TNIE that a few leaders, particularly four-five MLCs, are afraid of losing their seats but could be persuaded to toe the party line.
BJP, PDF MLCs caught in crossfire
Caught in the crossfire are MLCs belonging to the PDF, BJP and independents. The BJP has nothing much to lose but those belonging to the PDF and other Left parties have no representation in the Assembly or even the hope of making it in the future. Sources said some of them had approached the TDP and YSRC leaderships in the hope of finding a middle ground.
However, when contacted, a PDF MLC, on condition of anonymity, said they had not approached any party but claimed pressure was brought upon them to sail with the ruling party. Meanwhile, Legislative Council Chairman MA Shariff, speaking to the media in Tuni, said the process of referring the decentralisation Bills to the select committee was yet to be completed.
Asked about the alleged pressure put on him by the ministers, he refused to be drawn into the controversy, merely observing that they were perhaps angry and it need not be taken to heart.